This last December, our North America Region had a very successful International Rail Forum in New York, graciously hosted and well organized by our member, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The specific aim of the Forum was to enrich the program with topics that are relevant to you in this large, multifaceted, complicated and dynamic Region. Of the 150 invitations sent we had an above expected attendance of 80 professionals, with a wide range of expertise and the great participation by our Canadian colleagues. Judging from the comments received it was a great success!
Here are some of the comments/reflections heard at the Forum from various agencies, the thoughts certainly reflect the challenges and needs that are important to this Region:
"With an asset worth a trillion dollars we’d need $45 Billion (yes B) for its proper upkeep"
"Operating employee fatigue and inattention corresponding to current lifestyles is indeed a key problem"
"New technologies have a short life cycle, yet we need constant replacement/update"
"Our transit system is no longer new, but has reached “middle” age and moving toward legacy status"
"We have gone through various cycles: ”periods of growth and investments, then years of neglect”"
"Our ridership has doubled since the 1980’s"
"We need to take problems “head on”"
"Our situation will be better in the future but in the meanwhile it might get worse"
"To address climate change we need a regional/national approach"
"North American light rail systems tend to have different characteristics from Europe but there is much to learn from worldwide best practices and experience; growth in our Region is phenomenal"
"Innovation is what the Metro is NOT doing as a routine"
"We pay special attention to unsolicited proposals as many have potential merit"
"Instead of having the driver (“with the moustache”) up front, now children sit there looking out"
"New fronts such as robotization, digitalization and advanced visualization are advancing to help our business"
"Innovative ideas will not go forward without having an innovative minded management to support it"
"Our system is like a “jewel” with regards to safety, low crime and cleanliness"
"Preparedness for terror can start with training for other situations such as blackouts"
"Regardless of the current situation (i.e. terror) we must stay open and just keep going"
"Art within transit is not a luxury – it is IMPORTANT"
Going forward we are already planning the next Forum, and the date is set for December 7-8. Location to be determined.
As always, UITP is here to serve your needs, so we would very much welcome topics of interest that you would like to be considered.